The Unlikely Rise of Chelsea Green in WWE

A photo of Chelsea Green back at WWE Royal Rumble 2023.

Chelsea Green’s career in WWE has been nothing short of a rollercoaster, with her huge success in the last month allowing her to finally show her true value to the company.

In 2023, she enjoyed a successful 154-day reign as WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion, concluding in early January 2024. The momentum continued as she shocked fans last month by defeating Bianca Belair and Michin in a triple threat match, earning a coveted spot in the Women’s Money in the Bank ladder match.

On July 6, Green came agonizingly close to actually winning the Money in the Bank briefcase, only to be pushed off the ladder by Tiffany Stratton, crashing into tables outside the ring. Despite not winning, Green’s performance in the match solidified her status as a serious contender within WWE. 

While Green is now enjoying success, her journey hasn’t always been smooth. From competing on ‘Tough Enough’ to being signed and released again by 2021, the path hasn’t always been straightforward but it seems Green has finally found her way and looks set for a huge back half of 2024.

Her Rise Pre-WWE

Before her original signing to WWE in 2018, Green had been hard at work making a name for herself on the indies and across various promotions.

Chelsea Green’s wrestling career began in 2014 with Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling (ECCW) under the ring name Jaida. She quickly gained a strong reputation on the independent circuit with her hard work and unique character work.

In 2015, Green participated in WWE’s reality show, Tough Enough, where she finished fourth among the female contestants. Although she didn’t win, this exposure paved the way for future opportunities and soon she was being offered opportunities from both American and Japanese promotions.

However, Green’s proper breakthrough came in 2016 when she signed with the then IMPACT! Wrestling. Initially wrestling under her real name, she soon adopted the ring persona Laurel Van Ness, a character that would become infamous for her “Hot Mess” gimmick. This involved a disheveled appearance and chaotic antics, which quickly garnered attention.

Her storyline with Braxton Sutter, where she was jilted at the altar and subsequently spiraled into madness, became a highlight wrestling moment of the year and her work was praised heavily by fans.

This character evolution allowed Green to display her range as a performer, balancing comedy and drama. In 2017, her efforts culminated in winning the Impact Knockouts Championship, solidifying her status as a top female wrestler in the promotion.

Green’s journey from 2014 to 2018 laid the foundation for her eventual rise in WWE. Her ability to reinvent herself and engage audiences with her diverse personas has been key to her growing popularity.

Stunted Growth in WWE

Chelsea Green’s WWE journey began in 2018 with high hopes but faced several setbacks. After a successful tryout, she was signed to NXT and made her in-ring debut in October 2018. Unfortunately, a broken wrist during her first televised match in March 2019 required surgery and sidelined her for months.

Returning in June 2019, Green appeared on both NXT and Raw, including a notable match against Charlotte Flair in December 2019. Green even participated in the 2020 Women’s Royal Rumble and appeared regularly on NXT. But her November 2020 SmackDown debut ended with another wrist injury, further stalling her momentum.

The COVID-19 pandemic compounded these challenges and amidst budget cuts, WWE released Green in April 2021. This marked a significant setback, as she had been unable to fully showcase her abilities on the main roster and show the full extent of her captivating character work that had made her so special on the indies and in Impact.

But even after her release from WWE in April 2021, Chelsea Green didn’t slow down. She made a surprise debut at Ring of Honor’sBest in the World” pay-per-view event in July 2021. 

Green also returned to IMPACT! Wrestling, wrestling alongside her real-life partner Matt Cardona in several intergender tag team matches. Her time with IMPACT saw her once again embracing her chaotic “Hot Mess” persona, engaging fans with her unique character work. Her relentless drive and adaptability during this period set the stage for her eventual return to WWE in 2023.

Green’s Return to WWE

Since her return to WWE in 2023, Green’s career has been on a major upward trajectory. What sets her apart now is her ability to connect with the audience through an initially absurd yet compelling gimmick. Originally intended as a comedic heel, Green’s ‘Karen’ character has resonated with fans, turning her into an unexpected fan favourite.

The success of this character can be attributed to several factors. First, Green’s commitment to her role is evident in her performances. Her willingness to embrace the chaos and fully inhabit her character’s eccentricities has endeared her to the audience.

From social media clips to making endless complaints to Adam Pearce on Twitter/X, fans have only grown to appreciate her authenticity and dedication to the role in and out of the ring, which shines through in every appearance. She really elevates the scene everytime she steps on screen, even it’s for a mere 30-second appearance.

Her ability to play as a comedic but loveable underdog has also began to really connect. From her fake-out elimination in the Battle Royal for the vacant WWE Women’s World Championship in April or her stealing Belair’s opportunity to pin Michin after hitting the KOD in June, the entertainment she has brought to each show has transformed her from a comedic act into a now beloved star.

Additionally, Green’s in-ring abilities have significantly improved. Her matches are consistently entertaining, blending athleticism with her unique character work. This combination of skills and storytelling has made her a standout performer on the roster.

The organic fan support for Chelsea Green underscores the importance of character development and audience engagement in professional wrestling. Her ability to turn a comedic heel gimmick into a fan-favorite act highlights her talent and the power of wrestling narratives to evolve and captivate audiences.

As she continues to rise, Green’s story will undoubtedly continue to inspire many in the wrestling community and beyond.

More From LWOS Pro Wrestling

Header photo – WWE – Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on WWE NXT Heatwave and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can check out an almost unlimited array of WWE content on the WWE Network and Peacock.


More Posts

Send Us A Message